I know how full a ministry schedule can become. But, I recently heard that with maturity comes balance. As we grow in ministry leadership and service, the important things begin to surface. Here’s a list of nine important things that we don’t want to forget in student ministry.
1. Connect Students to a Web of Adults in Your Church
Students need healthy and vibrant connections to as many adults as possible in the church. This can be done in a variety of ways – from mentor programs, to volunteer youth workers, inviting students to serve on ministry teams, building inter-generational bridges and more. The key is that the students would have at least 5 connections to other adults besides the primary youth worker. This will aid in their commitment, to their sense of belonging, their faith journey and their long term connection to the ministry of the church.
2. Delegate Ministry Roles
You can’t do it all. And if you are trying to, you are stunting your ministry. Break down your ministry tasks, write each one out in detail (much like a job description) and then begin praying for people to whom you can delegate. There are people in your church who love doing what you don’t like to do. Discover them and engage their partnership.
3. Plan by Season to Make it Easier and Better
If you are a week to week planner, try planning for the month. Once you get that down, plan for the semester. Planning in blocks increases opportunity for people to help, increases chances of families arranging schedules around something at church, decreases stress and makes for better programs and ministries. Take a block of time and plan for the next season. One of the best things you can give to your church, your students and families is preparation and planning.
4. Ask Questions
You don’t always have to have the answers. In fact, many times, students know what they need to do. They just need the right questions. Ask questions like Jesus did.
Asking questions allows you to listen. Listening may be the most powerful thing you can do for a student in your ministry or for a struggling parent. Learn to become a great listener.
6. Put Family Before Ministry
Keep family priorities straight. Your most effective kingdom work may be accomplished on a micro mission field in that little place called home. Seek to create harmony in your schedule so you can invest time and energy as a souse, parent, friend, or neighbor. Scripture teaches that your ministry won’t flourish if your home isn’t in order. Read: You’re going to disappoint someone – try not to let it be your kids.
7. Develop a Relationship With the Lord
In all the work of ministry, don’t forget to invest in your time with the Lord. Love him. Listen to him. Pray and seek him.
8. Encourage and Support your Pastor
Build up the ministry of your pastor. As a supportive minister, one of your roles is to help accomplish the vision for the church and partner with the leader (pastor) for maximum effectiveness. Never talk bad about your pastor. Steer clear of those conversations. Instead, offer encouragement, help and ideas. Read this list of 11 traits of great supportive ministers.
9. Side with Parents
Don’t forget to side with parents. There are times when something catastrophic may happen in the life of a student, and when that does, you will need a team of people helping. But for the everyday teen age issues and drama, be a youth worker who builds up, speaks a good word about, and in general sides with parents. You cannot be at odds with mom and dad. Seasoned leaders know that home is everything. Student ministry leaders may be in contact with students for two, maybe three hours a week. The other 166 are with their families. Join forces, build bridges and help make the home a great place by not talking bad about families or parents with the students in your ministry.
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